2016 - make a resolution, or have resolve?
There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox
I’ve never been one to make a long list of New Year’s resolutions. Mainly because it is so easy to fail at them – the lofty ideals we set at this time of the year; when we are looking back at the year that was and what we want to be different somehow in the coming year. The only resolution I made in the past (which I have now stopped making) was that I would be ‘serene’ the next year. I don’t think that is ever going to happen completely, but bit by bit I am learning. Honestly. Delegation appears to be key.
F0r 2016 I am quietly determined not to read the comments on public facebook pages or on twitter, and participate in the discussions. I really don't need to participate in the outrage industry social media seems to breed these days and correcting grammar and spelling on the internet has lost its sparkle.
Resolutions are very different to goals made with resolve. Goals can be broken down into achievable parts. ‘I’m going to lose 12 kilos’ as a resolution often fails at the first hurdle when one hypothetically wakes up with a hangover on New Years’ Day unable to get off the couch to get any exercise. Yet having a goal of losing 12 kilos in the next 12 months can be broken down into losing 1 kilo a month, by exercising 5 days out of seven, by reducing your calorie intake so that output is higher than input and so on. Possibly even giving up wine, if one was so inclined. And every month that goes by and you see your goal reached is a mental tick in the box that you’re doing well.
And while resolutions come and go; resolve is easier to maintain, especially when you set yourself a goal and have a clear picture in your head, and written down on a piece of paper of what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it.
So think about your career and life goals for 2016, and how you are going to measure your success at achieving them. Do you want a new client? What steps do you need to take to win that work? Then keep it? Do you want to achieve a certain financial target? What changes do you need to make to ensure that happens? Do you want to move into a different area? To whom do you need to speak? Do you want start your own business? Where are you going to start and who can help you? Do you want to get a promotion? How do you find out about the criteria and who makes the decision? Do you need to make more time for yourself? What has to change to make that happen? Do you need to give up control of some things? What are you going to give up doing that has been distracting you?
Each of these questions is a whole blog post on its own, (especially the last two) but I want you to think about one important thing where we can all maintain resolve.
Is there a difficult conversation you have been putting off having with someone, whether it be a supervisor, colleague or junior employee? If you are doing reruns in your head of what you could have, should have or would have said to someone, that is a sign that a difficult conversation needs to be had. Plan it, frame it, and have it. Nothing changes unless you have those conversations – in particular the enormous space those thoughts are taking up in your head, and the energy expended in thinking about them. If you are a manager of people one of the most important skills you can learn is how to have a difficult conversation. I have yet to meet anyone who has dreaded a difficult conversation at work, but who has regretted finally having it, regardless of the outcome.
But back to the concept of serenity. I will never be Princess Grace (assuming she was serene and not just faking it). And most people with busy lives will have difficulty achieving serenity. I am however learning to be mindful. And so can you. I am day by day learning to focus my attention, to pause between tasks, and take a deep breath before moving on to the next one. And so can you. Trust me, it works.
And in 2016, let’s all practice gratitude and kindness regularly ( have written about gratitude previously), and be the person people look forward to seeing when they come to work. Gratitude and kindness, however small the act, are never wasted.
Happy New Year everyone any may your 2016 be successful, whatever success means for you.